For Christmas I received a book called Amazing Things Will Happen, by C.C. Chapman. It’s one of those books written to help you kick-start your life. My favorite chapter so far is called “Celebrate Success of All Sizes,” in which Mr. Chapman notes, “We are taught to celebrate major milestones. New jobs, babies, and awards are always a good place to start. But what about the smaller victories that might happen daily? Why are we not celebrating those?”
What a great question. Think of all the negativity permeating the world. People love to complain. We gripe about work, about traffic, about the weather – no matter what season. Take a peek at your Facebook feed. How many positive, uplifting posts do you see?
I know it happens in running. If a race doesn’t go exactly to our liking, it’s incredibly easy to find ourselves mentally, if not verbally, pointing out excuses, a.k.a. the negatives. “That headwind stunk.” “The race was poorly organized.” “I got a cramp.” “What, no gourmet meal after the race??!”
All of this sometimes gets labeled as “healthy venting,” and maybe it is. To an extent. But what about venting good stuff instead of the bad so often? It’s not easy, especially with folks all-too-ready to write off an optimist as a “Pollyanna” with a little smirk on their faces. Optimism requires a combination of thick skin, resilience, and a liberal splash of plain old-fashioned stubbornness.
I like finding things to be happy about. I went out to buy a new pair of running shoes last week and, after a bit of an ordeal (Note to self: next time, don’t wait until the last minute!), finally folded my exhausted body into my car, new shoes safely beside me. Victory! Unfortunately, that evening I didn’t have the energy to do much celebrating beyond some cursory inhalation of that always-wonderful new-shoe aroma, but two days later, when I actually ran in the shoes…ahhhhh. My feet did their own celebrating.
There are plenty of other running-related victories out there to relish. New PR’s are obvious, but when we encounter a less-than-ideal race as noted above, if we try, chances are we’ll find something good to pull from it. Maybe it was our longest race ever. Maybe we made a new friend. Maybe they had beer at the finish. And it doesn’t even have to be a race. How about celebrating our highest-ever weekly mileage, or a cool new shirt, or the fact that we even went for a run after a truly garbage day at the office?
Outside of running, there’s even MORE to celebrate. I know all the “National days” (i.e. National Pancake Day, National Margarita Day, National Procrastination Day, etc.) have become kind of a joke, but I for one celebrated National Cherry Pie Day with gusto.
With awards shows, the NCAA championships, early signs of Spring, and everything else happening this time of year, some folks roll their eyes and keep their head down, but others leap at all these chances to break out a new outfit, throw a shindig, or just…you know…be happy.
For those people, the leapers, I’ll borrow the words symbolized by the swoosh on my new shoes: Just do it.